Decoding Marketing Speak: A Guide for Non-Marketers

July 24, 2020

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This is Part 1 of a 4-Part Series

In this part, you'll learn the Overview of how to build your subscriber list and the various parts that make up the 'opt-in' process.

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The Non-Marketers Dilemma

Does This Sound Familiar?

You have a new website, you're not an experienced marketer -- online or offline -- but you've done your homework and you know that you've got to get "up to speed" on basic marketing skills in order to have any hope of getting readers to find and read your messages.

You've found some highly-respected expert online marketing tutorials, but you're bewildered and quite overwhelmed about all the new "marketing speak!" These tutorials have explained marketing principles, but they have failed to define exactly what they're talking about...

Lead Magnets... Buzz pieces... Tripwires?

Sales Funnels... CTA's... Opt-ins??

Ribbons... Light-boxes... Exit-intent???

What are these things? Your head is spinning and you don't know what these things are, if they are physical "things" or digital...or if they are strategies to be implemented!

This Quick Reference Guide is here to help!

Part 1 of this Guide defines & describes the most common of these marketing terms, and explains how & when to use each one. PLUS...visual examples help you to see how modern marketing experts use them and when...

Let's dive in...

Lead Magnet (aka Buzz piece, Trip wire):


Simply put, this is a FREE resource that is offered in exchange for your reader's email address. It is typically -- and highly-recommended -- to be digital, and offered as a download.


This is typically a PDF document (for easy download) that is:

  • quick to create (think no more than an hour)
  • gives your reader a "quick win" by solving ONE single challenge
  • Examples:
    • Checklists
    • Templates
    • Step-by-step processes, a numbered list
    • Resources list
    • Tools you use & recommend

This is offered through an "opt-in" which varies in variety & configuration, and which I discuss below.


As mentioned above, the purpose of this FREE offering is to get your reader to voluntarily provide you with their email address. Building your own list of subscribers is going to be GOLD so you have explicit permission to email them in the future.

Opt-in (aka 'sign-up form'):


This is a "form" you put on your website to ask for the email address...

There are a number of ways to do this; the simplest way is to include a form like this:

Opt-in form Example

Example of an "opt-in" form to collect reader's email address

There are lots of variations of sign-up forms... This is an example from this website. You can find it here. If you scroll up slightly from the area where this form is located, you'll see this area:

Text Link examples

Examples of text links (underlined, orange text) that lead the reader to opt-in forms

Again, there are almost unlimited variations of ways to present forms and how to set things up. In a future part of this articles series, I'll explain in more detail some examples of how this is done.

For this Introduction, I simply want to provide you with an Overview of the general process. It's not complicated -- if you have the right tools -- but it helps to see the "big picture" so you understand the full process.


You need an Email Marketing Service (ESP) so you can avoid getting in trouble with your ISP (internet service provider). Sending bulk messages -- the number that constitutes "bulk" varies depending on the specific service -- is a trigger that dreaded SPAM may be coming from your account! You can get shutdown completely by your ISP for spamming, so don't risk it! You need an ESP!

There are a variety of these companies, so do your research. They are PAID vendors, but if your're just starting out, MailChimp has a very generous FREE plan. This will serve you until you need something more robust.

In the following articles in the Series, I'll provide details on other ESPs and what you need to look for, depending on the size of your list and stage of your business.


You need a way to collect emails and to send those adddresses to your ESP, as described above!

CTA: Call-to-Action


This is a specific action you want your reader to take on whatever they are reading. There are definite CTA "best practices":

  • Only 1 CTA per page/post! Readers have difficulty making decisions, and are easily distracted and even confused. You want to define the single thing you want your reader to do upon completion of reading your content!
  • Examples:
    • Leave a comment
    • Share the content on social platforms
    • Subscribe to your list
    • Take a poll or survey
    • Read another related article on your website
  • Your CTA should be part of your overall marketing strategy & should fill your most important current goal. As you might be thinking: this is specific to your stage of business and will change over time and with each content piece!


The "opt-in" is one form of CTA, in this case when the action is to subscribe. However, how you implement a specific CTA depends on what you want the reader to do. It may be literally as simple as asking them to comment or take a survey or poll.


As mentioned above, the purpose of the CTA is to encourage your reader to engage with you and continue to be engaged. Commonly, this will be to voluntarily give you their email address, so you can actively continue the conversation through emails. But, if you're trying to increase your reach to new readers, it might be more appropriate to ask for them to share on social platforms. There are a variety of specific actions you can ask your reader to do, depending on what your marketing needs are at any given time!

Bonus Tips

You likely already know how important CONTENT is to your website...both for providing solutions to your readers and for getting those readers in the first place!

For the novice marketer, there are a lot of confusing terms just describing "content," so here's a bonus list of common content terms along with brief descriptions.

  • Article: (aka blog posts, tutorials) This is the "typical" content on most websites. This article is an example, even though it is part of a Series...
  • Long-form Content: (aka skyscraper, pillar post, cornerstone content) These can be WordPress Posts or pages, depending on the nature of the content. They are the "Ultimate Guides" or "Mega-Posts" you see on many websites. "Long-form" is the operative description: the are the quintessential "deep dive" into a specific topic. The are usually "deep" in coverage as opposed to "wide." They usually run from 10,000 - 20,000 words, and usually contain a comprehensive Table of Contents, and are accompanied by illustrative graphics. They are also very time-consuming to create -- as you can imagine -- and are not for the novice content creator. One advantage is that -- done well -- they can generate a huge number of inbound links to your "mega-content."
  • Content Upgrades: This is a specialized type of content that is offered to entice subscribers, but it is slightly different than a traditional Lead Magnet, in that it is even more tightly integrated to the content where it is offered. For example, your post might be "10 Tips..." and an appropriate "content upgrade" could be "BONUS: 5 More Tips..." It's really meant to be an extension of the post your visitor is reading, the idea being that the reader is already engaged & should be quite willing to provide their email address for more of what they're already reading. Because it is so relevant to the current article, it should also be very quick to create. Like Lead Magnets, it should be in PDF format and -- once the reader subscribes -- is offered as a download.

Part 1 of this Series is a solid Introduction to the basic foundation elements of online marketing...but there's a lot more!

This Introduction will equip you to take a deeper dive into specifics of marketing funnels, what to look for when comparing ESPs, specific tools & vendors for creating opt-ins & landing pages, and information on advanced email marketing strategies, such as email segmentation.

If you have any questions on "marketing speak" that you'd like me to cover in other tutorials or the upcoming parts in this Series, please let me know in the Comments below.

And make sure to subscribe above to be notified when Part 2 is published!

Karen McCamy

I'm a WordPress Trainer & Coach, and believe that everyone should be able to build & maintain their own WordPress website... without having to learn complicated code!

WordPress democratizes online publishing and completely aligns with my values as a a Social Science major, with a degree in Anthropology.

WordPress enables everyone to build a custom & conversion-ready website.

When not teaching WordPress, I enjoy writing at my local coffee house, trying to wrap my head around black holes & multiverses, or relaxing at home with my 3 feline adoptees...

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